The moment the Israelites cross over the Jordan River into the Promised Land is momentous and powerful. But it is not the Israelites’ achievement. It is God’s.
Even though they have lost trust in God at times, God is faithful. Even though they have doubted God’s power, God delivers them. Even though they have whined and complained along the way, God never leaves them. God repeatedly shows them mercy and unconditional love.
Now it is time for the people to respond. After they cross the river Jordan, they celebrate the Passover. They remember all that God has done for them. They reenact their liberation from slavery and recount their escape from Egypt. They retell the powerful deeds of God. Celebrating the Passover reminds them of God’s power and helps them remember who saved them.
As the people of God, we are called to remember, to reenact, to recount, and to retell the stories of God’s faithfulness. We do this every week in worship. We do it when we celebrate the Eucharist. We do it when we share the stories of times when God helped us, when a prayer was answered, when we felt God’s presence. As the Israelites well know, remembering what God has done for us in the past can sustain us in seasons of doubt and suffering in the present and in the future.
What helps you remember and recount God’s goodness? Take a few moments today to write down some of the ways you have experienced God’s power and love in your life. Then give all the thanks and all the credit to God.
Gracious God, you are always with me. You never stop working for good in me and in your world. Thank you for your faithfulness and the many ways you have helped me in the past. Hear me now as I remember and recount your works . . . Amen.
Lent is a time for focusing on our need for God and for remembering God’s abundant resources for filling that need. When the Israelites finally pass into Canaan, they observe the Passover as a reminder of God’s deliverance of them from Egypt. The psalmist, traditionally David, rejoices in the fact that God does not count his sins against him. Paul declares that through Christ, God has made everything new. God no longer holds our sins against us, and we in turn appeal to others to accept this free gift. Jesus eats with sinners and tells the story of the prodigal son to demonstrate that no matter how far we stray, God will always welcome us home with open arms. God never stops pursuing us, even if we feel unloved or unworthy.
Read Joshua 5:9-12. What stories do you tell about your faith? What do these stories help you remember?
Read Psalm 32. When have you hidden from God? When has God been your hiding place?
Read 2 Corinthians 5:16-21. We are ambassadors for Christ. How does your life display for others that life in Christ eliminates worldly identity labels?
Read Luke 15:1-3, 11b-32. Do you identify with the prodigal son, the elder son, or the father in the parable? Are you ready to rejoin God’s household on God’s terms? Are you ready to welcome everyone home?
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